QUINTANA BEACH, Texas — A dolphin that beached itself in Texas has died, and an animal rescue organization says people on the beach who harassed the animal are partly to blame.
Texas Marine Mammal Stranding Network, a nonprofit group, posted photos of the beached dolphin on Facebook, saying the animal was stranded alive and was reportedly pushed back to sea, “where beachgoers attempted to swim with and ride the sick animal. She ultimately stranded and was further harassed by a crowd of people on the beach where she later died before rescuers could arrive on scene.”
Under the Marine Mammal Protection Act, feeding, harassing, or trying to ride marine animals in the wild is illegal.
The photos showing the dolphin were taken at Quintana Beach in Texas on Sunday, KHOU reported.
“In this case, it’s a pretty egregious example of what not to do,” Texas A&M University at Galveston marine biologist Dr. Christopher Marshall told KHOU. “People riding the animal, the animal was quite sick, already stressed at this point. The animal was probably on the brink and the stress is what killed it.”
NOAA recommends that people who want to see wild dolphins and porpoises observe animals from a safe distance of at least 150 feet by land or sea or at least 1,000 feet by air. It also recommends avoiding touching or swimming with wild animals, even if they approach you.
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